Japanese shares end higher on Wall Street gains, financials weigh


TOKYO, Dec 26 (Reuters) – Japanese shares ended higher on Monday, underpinned by Wall Street’s strength in the previous session, with heavyweight technology and energy stocks leading the gains, while a drop in banks and insurers weighed on the market.

The Nikkei share average rose 0.65% to close at 26,405.87, while the broader Topix edged up 0.24% at 1,902.52.

“Japanese shares rose because U.S. equities gained at the end of last week, but the trading is very quiet with most participants in the U.S. and Europe away for holidays,” said Shuji Hosoi, senior strategist at Daiwa Securities.

Heavyweight Fast Retailing, owner of the Uniqlo brand, rose 2.0% and chip-making equipment maker Tokyo Electron gained 2.22%. Air-conditioning maker Daikin Industries climbed 1.39%.

The rise in oil prices pushed the oil explorers index up 2.5%, making it the top gainer among the 33 industry sub-indexes on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Inpex jumped 2.53%.

The crude refiners’ index gained 1.33%, with Idemitsu Kosan rising 2.81%.

The banking sector lost 1.35% after surging more than 10% so far this month on expectations for better profits after the central bank last week allowed the 10-year government bond yield to rise up to 0.5% last week, from 0.25%. The 10-year JGB yield was last at 0.445%.

Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group lost 2.21%, while Resona Holdings fell 2.75%.

The insurance sector fell 1.37%.

“The 10-year government bond yield hovers below the top end of the Bank of Japan’s (BOJ) policy band, which prompted a sell-off of banking shares,” Hosoi said.

There were 158 advancers on the Nikkei index against 60 decliners.

The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo bourse’s main board was 0.85 billion, compared to the average of 1.25 billion in the past 30 days. (Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)

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